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Weekends With Alex Witt

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Us 7, Alex 7, U.s. 7, Lincoln 6, Israel 5, Bob 5, Steve 5, Nbc 5, Advair 4, The Home Depot 4, John Boehner 4, Msnbc 4, Doris Kearns Goodwin 4, Chris Christie 3, Doris 3, Morsi 3, Egypt 3, Warfarin 3, Springfield 3, Hamas 3,
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  MSNBC    Weekends With Alex Witt    News  News/Business.  
   Live news coverage. New.  

    November 24, 2012
    4:00 - 5:00am PST  

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don't know it is wrong but you can help with visual aids. we have posted both of those charts we just showed you on our blog and you can load them on your smartphone or ipad to pass around the table and print them out on paper in case your uncle doesn't look liking at these new fangled screen things. those are waiting for you now. maddowblog.com/thanksgiving. we are here for you. you can do this. and then report back and let us know how it went. inside the numbers, did retailers benefit from opening doors on thanksgiving day? we're going to get some new perspective. the fiscal cliff, might a new wrinkle make it even tougher for the two parties to make a deal? it is one of the big hits of the season, the new film about abraham lincoln, and coming up, a unique take from doris kearns goodwin who wrote the book. imagine if this were your neighbor. one holiday display is drawing a lot of attention. that is in our one-minute playback. wow. good morning, everyone. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." let's get to what's happening right now out there. we have some new numbers today.
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as retailers begin to calculate black friday sales and whether it paid off to open on thanksgiving. all that, plus today is small business saturday, and cyber monday, of course, happens in just two days. nbc's michelle franzen is in n manhattan. >> alex, we've gotten through the first wave, the black friday, include being the early start that began on thanksgiving evening. so how did everything turn out? well, retailers say so far, so good. they saw a wave of people coming through, a rush of shoppers going through those doors on that thanksgiving night. that took away a little bit from the crowds on that friday morning. but they were still out in force. national retail federation actually says 5 million viewer shoppers are expected this holiday weekend start. that's the thursday through sunday, about 147 million are expected. but, overall this holiday, retail sales are expected to go up just over 4%. that will be good news for
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retailers. they are pulling out all the stops this weekend, trying to get people in on those doorbuster sales. those electronic sales, everything from clothes to those flatscreen tvs that everyone loves to wait for and rush in to grab. we've also got some cell phone video out of a georgia walmart that shows shoppers just grabbing and pushing, going for prepaid cell phones. that was a little bit of the crush that we are used to seeing. however, we will have to wait and see until sunday to see how those numbers really shape up. that's when retailers will be knowing how they'll be looking in these weeks ahead before the holidays end. alex? >> okay, michelle franzen, thanks so much for that. well, experts and retailers say the holiday season is off to a strong start. a new study says consumer confidence will boost spending more than 98 billion dollars through december. the average holiday shopper is expected to spend about $751 on gifts. early numbers from walmart show the company selling 1.3 million
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televisions already since thursday. and a record number of people shopped the web on thanksgiving day. a 17.4% increase over last year. so, did you take advantage of black friday holiday sales? talk to me on twitter. my handle is @alexwitt. i'm going to be reading some of your tweets throughout the day. it is time now for a quick check of the weather. new york city is clear and calm right now. it is a beautiful day there. but some parts of the country are bracing for wintry weather late this holiday weekend. nbc meteorologist dylan dreyer is here with the forecast. good morning, dylan. >> thanks, alex. good morning. we are starting off with some very cold temperatures. 13 degrees in minneapolis. we've got temps in the 20s right now in chicago. that cool air is going to settle in to the great lakes, combine that with a northwest wind and we are looking at lake-effect snow back in action across most of the great lakes this morning. and through most of the day for that matter. look at the last 24 hours. we've seen temperatures drop by about 10 to almost 20 degrees. dallas is nearly 20 degrees cooler than it was just this
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time yesterday. so we are only going to top out in the lower 30s across minneapolis, into chicago today, about 35 degrees. kansas city, 48. but denver, should top out around 70 degrees. you can obviously see where the warm air is located. we do have some warm air moving into the pacific northwest. also some snow showers across montana. but today the big story will be the 3 to 6 inches of snow possible all through the great lakes from cleveland, ohio, e e erie, pennsylvania, up into buffalo, new york. anywhere off lake ontario we will see some of that lake-effect snow and the northern peninsula of michigan, as well. we are going to see the lake-effect snow linger through the day today, even into tomorrow. temperatures in the northeast will be in the 40s. a little cool. down across the southeast we'll top out in the 50s and 60s. but the warm spot, again, back into colorado with highs today topping out in the lower 70s. alex? >> okay. dylan, thank you so much for that. a new wrinkle this week in the fiscal cliff negotiations. just 38 days to go and the big question now, how much might republicans try to use the
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president's health care plan as a negotiating chip? nbc's mike viqueira is joining me live from the white house. good saturday to you, mike. >> good morning, alex. >> let's talk about obama care. is that off the table from the democrats' perspective? >> absolutely. the thing is is that john boehner and the republicans, the last time we went around these negotiations, remember it was june of 2011, on the debt ceiling negotiations, the president and the speaker played golf, and there were all those grand bargain talks behind closed doors. republicans tried to put it on the table back then, and democrats said, absolutely no way. and i think they're going to get a similar response this time. remember, it was just a few weeks ago when john boehner after the election essentially said, there's nothing we can do about obama care. it's going into effect next year. people are going to have to start enrolling, those exchanges are going to have to get up and running. he saw a revolt among his house republicans and republicans across the united states, just for saying it. now john boehner is doing a little backtracking. he wrote in the cincinnati enquirer, his hometown newspaper, the president's health care law adds a massive,
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expensive, unworkable government program at a time when our national debt already exceeds the size of our country's entire economy. we can't afford it and we can't afford to leave it intact. so try as they might, remember the last congress republicans passed a lot of bills out of the house of representatives that tore apart obama care. as even the president calls it now. they didn't go anywhere in the senate and meanwhile, alex, after the thanksgiving break, the principles are expected to get back together to begin negotiating in earnest. as you're right the clock is ticking. just a little bit more than one month to go before the nation heads over that fiscal cliff. al alex? >> 38 days and counting. thanks so much. let's go from the white house to the middle east now. palestinians and israelis are keeping a cease-fire alive. but many call the truce extremely fragile. an attempted border breach threatened the calm yesterday. israeli forces shot and killed a palestinian man. he was one of hundreds testing israeli security at the border. nbc's martin fletcher is live for us in tel aviv. good saturday morning to you, martin. can this shooting jeopardize the cease-fire?
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and then when does the next phase begin? >> alex, good morning to you, too. i think you've used the right word, testing the cease-fire. i don't think it will endanger the cease-fire because israel's response was quick. they fired warning shots at the palestinians, in the end they ended up killing one of the forces. palestinians are going to be protesting that to the united nations. but at the same time hamas also responded quickly. today they're keeping protesters away from the fence. they don't want any more of these kinds of clashes with israelis see as provocations. so i think it's clear both sides do want the cease-fire to continue. they both have a very strong vested interest in doing so. and that kind of incident yesterday, which led to the unfortunate death of one palestinian, i doubt that will be repeated in the days to come. the emphasis on both sides is going to be on the next stage, which as you mentioned, which is outlining the details, dealing with the details of what the cease-fire is, what it leads to. what they've got so far is what
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they've called quiet for quiet. both sides not shooting. what's next is the beginning of the negotiations. it's quite clear what the two sides want although it's going to appear complicated. it's simple and it's basic. hamas wants the lifting of the blockade of gaza. israel wants the end of weapons smuggled into gaza. that's what the issue is going to be about. >> we've been talking the last couple days broadcasting through this and you've made the point that these types of squirmishes along the border, they are routine. not the fact that a palestinian was killed but these attempts to kind of go up to the fence and test that border line, right? i mean this happens all the time. every day. >> well, it's been going on for years. and that's one of the problems. the israelis patrol the area. palestinian people who live on the other side, it's their land. they want to use their land. to many of them it's farmland. but it's also land that palestinian militants can use to lay land mines and to shoot at israelis. the closer the palestinians come to the fence, the more worried the israelis are that they're
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actually, what the israelis call terrorists. so the israelis instituted what they call a 300 yard no-go zone. palestinians not allowed in that. israel wanted that to stop terrorists. but the palestinians want to use their land. so it's a clear conflict of interest there. this time the palestinians after the cease-fire were testing it. they thought, well, there's a new situation here, maybe we can go. clearly the israelis say they can't. >> certainly not yet. we'll see what happens with the negotiations. martin fletcher in tel aviv, thank you. back here at home a somber saturday morning, after the passing of television legend larry hagman. hagman first rose to stardom in the 1960s playing astronaut major nelson on "i dream of jeannie" but in the eighties it was his portrayal of j.r. ewing on the prime-time soap "dallas." larry hagman died friday after a battle with throat cancer. possible new wrinkle in the fiscal cliff talks. both sides are going to be able to iron that out before we wring
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in 2013. we're hoping, right? we'll talk about that, it's next. plus the lessons that can be learned from the new film "lincoln." we're going to talk to the woman who wrote the book on it. if you think you missed out on black friday prices at the home depot, think again. black friday prices are still here. instore and online, right now. where prices have been cut, chopped, and sanded... ...on the most powerful tools that cut... ...chop... ...and sand. so we, or somebody on our list, can do the same. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. get a special buy on a ryobi 2 piece lithium ion kit for just $99. ♪ you make me happy [ female announcer ] choose the same brand your mom trusted for you. children's tylenol, the #1 brand
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to front page politics and fiscal cliff negotiations round two. the president plans to meet with house and senate leaders for the second time next week on the matter. we have a little more than a month now to avoid triggering automatic tax increases, and massive budget cuts. one emerging point of contention, the president's signature affordable care act. in a cincinnati enquirer op-ed
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house speaker john boehner is calling for the law to be on the table in those negotiations. meantime a new political report says house republicans plan to vote next week on immigration legislation that would expand visas for foreign science and technology students. the plan would also make it easier for those with green cards to bring their immediate families to the u.s. and this year's official christmas tree arrived at the white house friday with all the traditional fanfare atop a horse-drawn marriage. the 19 foot frasier fir is from north carolina. joining me for more, white house correspondent for the hill, amy parnes. chief correspondent for mcclatchy newspaper steve selma. welcome to you both. >> thank you. >> steve, why don't you head on up here? i'm going to begin with amy. i want to read you part of speaker boehner's op-ed on fiscal cliff negotiations. if we're serious about getting our economy moving again, solving our debt, and restoring prosperity for american families we need to repeal obama care and enact commonsense step by step reforms to start with lowering the cost of health care.
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would democrats consider putting any part of the president's signature health care legislation on the table to negotiate? >> no. it's just not going to happen. i mean you remember last year, democrats wouldn't -- refused to budge on this issue. they're not going to do it again. president obama's out there, all campaigns saying health care is law now. now that he's in office again for a second term, there's no way this happens. it didn't happen last time. it won't happen this time. >> so then, steve, i thought he said affordable health care act was the law of the land a couple weeks ago, didn't he? >> absolutely. and this seems to be more of a bow to the conservative part of this caucus than a serious negotiating position. you know, the key part of the article you just read was he said, if we're serious. that's a question about this very matter, if he's serious about this, as a bargaining position. i suspect he's not. that's a political move to his own base. if he is serious, it's not particularly credible bargaining position. >> okay. house republicans are planning to vote on new legislation, amy,
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aimed at helping immigrants in this country. it would expand visas for the foreign science and technology students, and also make it easier for green holders to bring their immediate families, spouses and children into the u.s. this move comes after the president won overwhelmingly with the latino and immigrant vote this year. do you think this is a sign for the gop that they -- they're contemplating a shift? they're ready to start making a shift and help to woo the immigrant and latino voters now? >> they are. i keep hearing from strategists after the election, republican strategists who said, you know, we have a problem. we have a hispanic problem. this is part of that effort to come back and gain that demographic. and it's also good news for president obama, who really wants to do immigration reform in his second term. it gives him an indication that they might be more cooperative to make that happen. >> but, did -- does it give president obama, though, a, a win here because it seems a little bit, steve, that it comes like a, there's a sense of pandering here.
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i mean has the republican party actually changed its views on immigration reform? or is it just because oh, we lost, we have to fix that? >> i think on this proposal they're going to vote on next week, alex, it's not paenderring. particularly house house republicans proposed this last fall before the election. which is to increase the number of visas for particular skill sets. the s.t.e.m.s., science, technology, edge mering and math. there were some wrinkles in the way it was proposed. but it had majority support in the house before the election. when they start talking about amnesty for people who are in the country without documentation, that's, if not pandering, it's surrender to the political reality. >> you know, there is this story on politico, steve, about a hypothetical 2013 marquee race, governor chris christie versus new york mayor cory booker, the new jersey governor. what are your first thoughts that come to your mind if this actually were to come to pass? i mean how would this play out? >> well my first thought is, it's a gift to political reporters like us.
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you know, after the cornucopia of this year with the presidential election, a third of the senate, the entire house, 30 governorships, next year we only have two elections in the entire country. two governor's races, new jersey and virginia. every year after the presidential. so this would be a high profile race between two politicians at the top of their game. chris christie is very popular. particularly his handling of the storm recently. that seems to have helped him out. and cory booker, as we saw in the democratic convention, is a very skilled politician. very good communicator. not sure he'd win the democratic nomination and oppose christie but i think this race would be a gift. >> well, you know, steve talks about how he's very popular right now, chris christie, his approval ratings, 67%. which is pretty darn high. but the speculation over whether or not he will actually seek re-election next year, if he doesn't do that, why wouldn't he do that? >> i think he will. i mean, this would be a nice entry, if he did want to run in 2016.
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and he does appeal to democrats and republicans alike. so i think this would be a good thing for him. my focus group at the thanksgiving dinner table said yeah, i like him, i would vote for him. i think there were some staunch democrats at the table. so, you know, good news for him. >> it is good news for him. he's always fun to watch and a good friend to us here at msnbc. so anyway. we will see what happens with that. amy parnes, steve, thank you so much. >> my pleasure. >> the uneasy cease-fire in the middle east ahead. one writer's view on the prospect for actual peace and how it might be achieved. and the black friday protests at walmart. did anything come of them? we'll take a look here on "weekends with alex witt." [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus presents the cold truth. i have a cold... i took dayquil, but i still have a runny nose. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil doesn't work on runny noses. what? [ male announcer ] it doesn't have an antihistamine. really? [ male announcer ] really.
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joining me now, author of "black market billions." hitha prabhakar. >> good morning, alex. >> let's talk about the numbers retailers are crunching right now from black friday. what do you expect to see when all is said and done? do you think this might continue into 2013? >> so we're not going to see numbers, the exact numbers until about sunday at 1:00 when the national retail federation is going to have their conference call. but some of these initial numbers are coming in quite positive. 80 million people were out there shopping this weekend. nielsen is expecting the spend to be around $98.3 billion. that's the good side. the downside is that the consumer confidence levels are down. the number -- the index came in at around $82.7, and that was the same number that was for october. now i also look at the consumer expectations index. that came in at 76.7. that was down from 79. -- 79, i guess i should say, and that's kind of, that shows what the
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consumer's going to be feeling six months from now. so really that's going to be the indication of how consumer is going to be feel nothing 2013. >> since it's small business saturday, apparently two-thirds of american shoppers are expected to participate in that. it's only in its third year of existence. why has it become so important to small businesses? >> alex, the small business community has really, you know, taken a hit with this recession. and even the confidence in small businesses hasn't quite recovered to prerecession levels. so, these small businesses, using this day, there's a lot of marketing push going on behind it. for online, as well as social media. about 67% of small businesses that are participating in it are going to be having some specials this specific day so people can go out there and shop. and it's really in a shaky economy, small businesses, we're talking about main street here, we're not talking about wall street, they are the crux of business here in the united states. so i think to focus on that, that's why we want to focus on small businesses, especially for
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today. >> speaking of main street. walmart says protests broke out at 26 stores across the u.s. how many workers actually protested? and do you think future protests are going to have any impact on sales? >> walmart came out with a statement and they said 50 people were protesting on black -- i guess i should call it black thursday. this is over 1.3 million people that were working. so, they serviced about 20 million people during that black thursday to black friday time period. so there were really some -- some turnover there in terms of, you know, the cash registers changing, and protesters really didn't have an effect on that. now, if the national labor bureau, it, it -- if -- excuse me, if they end up -- in favor of walmart, basically, that's going to affect the prices of walmart's -- cost of goods are going to be passed on to the -- to the -- >> and nobody wants that. that's for sure.
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hith to prabhakar, thanks so much. see you a bit later. in this morning's one-minute playback, holiday lights gangnam style. a homeowner in cedar park, texas, did this. the home has more than 25,000 christmas lights. the video has gotten about 73,000 hits on youtube. check it out. ♪ ♪ this december, remember -- what starts with adding a friend... ♪ ...could end with adding a close friend. the lexus december to remember sales event is on.
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[ male announcer ] zales is the diamond store. well, if itmr. margin?margin. don't be modest, bob. you found a better way to pack a bowling ball. that was ups. and who called ups? you did, bob. i just asked a question. it takes a long time to pack a bowling ball. the last guy pitched more ball packers. but you... you consulted ups. you found a better way. that's logistics. that's margin. find out what else ups knows. i'll do that. you're on a roll. that's funny. i wasn't being funny, bob. i know. welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." approaching the half hour, here's what's happening.
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fast five headlines we begin with. an investigation is under way in springfield, massachusetts, after a natural gas explosion. the blast leveled a strip club and heavily damaged a dozen other buildings. many of the 18 people injured were first responders on a call about a gas leak. no one was killed because officials had already evacuated the area. the mother of hector macho camacho says she has decided to have doctors cut off life support for the former world champion boxer. camacho was shot in the face tuesday while sitting in a car in puerto rico. six new cardinals have been elevated at the vatican. pope benedict presided over the ceremony. they're from colombia, libya, lebanon, nigeria, philippines and the united states. the powerball jackpot is $325 million. the fourth largest in the game's history. that drawing is tonight. elizabeth smart is writing her memoir, ten years after being kidnapped at the age of 14 in salt lake city. smart's publicist says the book will be about her nine months of captivity as well as how she turned it into a cause for child
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advocacy. let's go new to egypt where there's another political crisis brewing and some of it is taking place exactly where the arab spring started. got new video to share with you here of opponents demonstrating against president mohamed morsi's decision to broaden his power. it is the second day of protest. nbc's jim maceda is live for us in cairo. jim, good day to you there in cairo. what's going on this morning? >> hi there, alex. it's kind of a festive atmosphere down below me there on tahrir square. several hundred people chanting, marching, but the flag -- the tents are out. some of the stands are out. the tea man is out. it's a bit reminiscent of how it was almost now two years ago. and egyptians, you know, seem more divided than ever, alex. for many here their elected leaders -- or i should say the elected leader morsi himself has just driven a wedge deeper and even wider. at dawn there were more tents
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than protesters on tahrir square. ground zero for last year's uprising. but that didn't stop clashes with police on approach roads where protesters blocked traffic, defying president mohamed morsi's orders. after morsi declared sweeping powers for himself, leaving him above the law. "we are here because the goals of the revolution have yet to be achieved" said this protester. morsi told the supporters he had to take radical measures to protect the revolution. and fast-track a new constitution being written by a mostly islamist assembly. after which, he said, he'd give up those powers. "yes, he might be a dictator for the time being, but these powers will be transferred to an elected parliament," he said. but the decrees have triggered protests and riots. dozens were injured in alexandria when angry youths stormed and set fire to morsi's muslim brotherhood headquarters.
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"this action makes him a dictator even more than hosni mubarak" he said. critics call it a power grab, tying him to his recent success on the world stage after brokering a cease-fire deal in gaza. but suddenly, morsi, the mediator, is fighting for his political life back home. >> regardless of the timing, this sort of move by morsi would always have been a very risky and polarizing gesture. >> reporter: and just as egypt seemed to be emerging from its post-revolutionary pain, there's more trouble ahead. later today, opposition members are meeting to plot out their next move. there are already plans for strikes by judges, and a call for yet another million man march against morsi on tuesday. alex, it's going to get interesting. >> i was going to say that, as well. jim maceda. thank you so much. for more on egypt and the situation in gaza, i'm joined by journalist and msnbc contributor rula jabril. good morning to you. >> good morning, alex. >> so let's talk about president
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morsi, who proved to be an adept negotiator in brokering the cease-fire. but does he have the motivation to really crack down on hamas and the militant groups, and hold them to peace? >> i think there's a misconception of morsi's role. i don't think morsi sees himself as the police man that will control hamas. he sees himself as a mediator, as a negotiator, and he would love to be the one that would eventually broker a peace deal. he doesn't want to control hamas militarily. he would like to negotiate with israel, and with them, and be included in any u.s. bilateral negotiation eventually. but he will not be the policeman. i mean, we need to forget the idea that we will control hamas militarily. >> but, if hamas gets out of control, doesn't it have detrimental effect on egypt? isn't it in his interest to ensure the security of hamas, and keep things quiet and calm in, you know, the gaza strip and elsewhere?
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>> i think he needs to keep quiet and calm in his own country, in his -- at home. he has -- he's trying to put himself above the law and he's trying to ensure more power saying to the people trust me, i am the revolution, i am the guy that, you know, gets rid of mubarak and he's becoming a second mubarak. so it will be very challenging for him to keep quiet at home, and i'm repeating this. he does not see himself as the policeman for hamas. he's actually supportive of hamas, supportive of their national identity, now their exploration for freedom and dignity. look all around the arab world people protest to get rid of regimes. we're asking the palestinians, whether in west bank or gaza, to ignore their pride to have freedom and live in dignity. >> you talk about him evolving into a second hosni mubarak. is it because of this power grab that he has right now that's
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returning to the strong-arm tactics of mubarak, which he says himself would be temporary, but of course you've got to wonder, once someone gets that kind of power, how do they cede that, how do they return to not having it, which i guess is the big question there? >> yeah, this is such a -- this is a great question, alex. temporary. i mean, mubarak said temporary for how many years? 30 years almost? and i will, you know, live the martial law, i will give more power, i will give more power, i just need to do this, and you snow, it took him three decades to do that. and the people had to go in the streets, being killed by the police, protesting for days and weeks and weeks, and in the end, they get rid of him. morsi has to understand that people that put him in power, actually who won his revolution, were the people of egypt, and not the muslim brotherhood. and if he doesn't understand that, and he doesn't understand
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that everyone in any country has to be subjected to the rule of law, because this is the basics for democracy, that it's not a democracy anymore. if he doesn't understand this quickly, he will miss -- he misjudged who are the egyptians are, what they stand for. >> i want to get something, i'm reading your article you wrote about inevitable third infa todd today and it's going to be much worse than the one in 2000. what is behind that? >> it's ignoring the palestinian exploration for freedom, for democracy and for life of dignity. look the palestinians, whether they're in the west bank or in gaza they've been wanting for decades, since 1967, to have some kind of country, or some kind of freedom, and live a decent life where they are not controlled by the israeli occupation. israel says they left gaza but in the end of the day, they left the center of gaza, but they
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control the borders, control the sea, they control the air space, and there's no trade with the west bank, whatsoever, they're strangling the economy. and this is what's building frustration. and this is why hamas is winning because they're exploiting this frustration of the palestinians. there's no military solution to gaza. it's only a political settlement that has to go through a negotiation with a p.a., palestinian authority, and hamas. >> rula jebreal, thank you very much for weighing in on this situation. i appreciate it. we're going to have more on the middle east later on today at noon eastern. i will talk with msnbc's mideast diplomacy analyst renn us ross of the washington institute for mideast policy. and at 1:00 p.m. we'll talk with diana buttu who has played a key role in palestinian negotiations. also former state department spokesman p.j. crowley. in this week's office politics a look at the best of the lighter moments with all of our guests. i began by asking mika
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brzezinski about a holiday dinner she'd like to forget. you brought up something this just popped to mind with your father being who he is in the carter administration, you being a democrat, you've got these two brothers, one of whom works for mitt romney. >> right. >> what in the world is thanksgiving dinner like around your table? >> we've had some bad ones. but we've had some -- >> can't talk about the iraq war. >> no, we can't talk about that. >> seriously. >> my mother hates it when i tell that story though. >> 2004, middle of the iraq war. >> it was just the boys weren't getting along. >> ian brzezinski, who worked for don rumsfeld, right under don rumsfeld. mark brzezinski, worked for bill clinton, and now is an ambassador in sweden, for barack obama, they got into a fight over thanksgiving dinner over the iraq war. it started in the dining room. >> it was heated.
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>> and ended up on the front line. >> it was very heated. you know how the boys are. >> like the kennedys with flag football? >> there was none of that. >> it was crazy. really. >> are you a really good guitar player? >> you know, some people say -- >> you've never heard that? >> i'm not actually -- yeah, write that down. i'm not actually a good guitar player, but i play guitar, piano. i'm a generalist. i do a little bit of everything. but i do it because i write songs. i've been writing songs. i love music. i love writing songs. love regarding them. that's what they did growing up. in high school other people were at the beach, i was a dork, recording songs and had my head phones on all summer. >> yeah. >> very pastey white. the pastiest white guy because i was locked in my room. but it's what i like. so when pete townsend comes on
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the show, signs a guitar, that's actually -- that excites me a lot more than being around -- >> argo i loved the movie argo. go ben affleck. i think he did a great job. i'm going to be seeing "lincoln." i'm very interested in that. obviously love doris kearns goodwin's book. >> honeymoon. >> that's something that stays on your mind. >> it was really great. these wedding days are hard. planning. >> can i see a picture, though? >> yeah. let's see. >> you're a great-looking couple. >> that is us from our wedding day. yeah. so the honeymoon was great. we went to brazil. and we went hang gliding. spent a lot of time biking and going on the beach, and we hiked sugar loaf mountain. it was great. it was really nice to go away. and very to be honest, the first two days it rained while we were there. so, we were all caught up on
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downton abbey. >> more of our conversation at noon. we're going to talk to savannah guthrie about her cooking skills and chris matthews about just how often he goes to the movies. six things to be thankful for where the economy ask concerned this holiday weekend. and lessons learned from the book that inspired the movie "lincoln." my conversation with historian doris kearns goodwin about the good politicians can do. if you think you missed out on black friday prices at the home depot, think again. black friday prices are still here. instore and online, right now. where prices have been cut, chopped, and sanded... ...on the most powerful tools that cut... ...chop... ...and sand. so we, or somebody on our list, can do the same. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. get a special buy on a ryobi 2 piece lithium ion kit for just $99.
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there was much talk this year about how politically divided america has become. but these times pale in comparison to the extraordinary high stakes during the civil war. the new film "lincoln" chronicles a president and a nation struggling to keep the union together. >> this settles the fate of all
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coming times. not only for the millions now in bondage, but of unborn millions to come. shall we stop this bleeding? >> joining me now is historian doris kearns goodwin whose book "team of rifles: the political genius was abraham lincoln" is the basis for the film. welcome, doris, so glad to have you. >> thank you, thank you. >> well, i have to give you congratulations on the movie, too. i absolutely loved it. has it been just a whirlwind since it came out for you? >> oh, it's been absolutely terrific. i imagined in my mind lincoln for ten years, waking up with him in the morning, thinking what would he sound like if he talked. what would he walk like if he walked? and then suddenly, to be able to see daniel day-lewis having as much authentic as we know about lincoln's voice, his walk, his talk, his funnyness in telling
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stories, i felt like he was back again. it's been an extraordinary experience. >> i actually think that daniel day-lewis did an outstanding job. and i think he has depicted lincoln for the ages now. i think this will be the standard by which it will be judged. and i understand that you showed him around lincoln's hometown of springfield, illinois. what was that like? >> well, as soon as he decided to become lincoln, he asked me if i would take him through lincoln's house that he lived in with mary, go to the library, go to the log house so we spent a couple of days in springfield in the beginning incognito with nobody recognizing him. until finally we went into a sandwich shop and somebody saw him and suddenly he was lincoln. it was great to show him the actual materials, in the library he could pick up the old documents. he could walk the rooms where abraham walked and he felt claustrophobic in abraham and mary's house. which is exactly how lincoln felt. it was the beginning of that long process by which he became abraham lincoln a year later. >> this period that's covered in
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the film, does the movie stay true to history? >> oh, without a question. alex, they've done as much as they can to authenticate even the minor characters. now, of course, there are moments when -- are lost to history like some conversations might be. and that's where steven spielberg would say imagination comes in. but it is as rooted in history, even when i went down to the richmond set and they took me into a room where they had recreated the white house, i was just blown away. the wallpaper was as we knew it was at the time. they had a picture of it. they had the carpet remade to look like the carpet. the books that were on the desk were the books that lincoln was reading at the time. the battle masts were there. i just felt like i'd walked and been catapulted back to 1964 and 1846. that ends a whole degree of rootedness to the movie besides being an incredibly, dramatic story, a thriller of whether this amendment will pass. >> it is such a thriller. we know the outcome, that's what i love about the movie. we know exactly what's going to happen and yet you're sitting on
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the edge of your seat with it. with regard to your book "team of rivals" it refers to lincoln's cabinet, which several members were his former adversaries. how does that affect his presidency? >> it was huge. i mean, he said when he won the election, the very night that he knew he needed to have the strongest and most able people in the country around him so they could argue with him, they could question his assumptions, and that that time it meant putting factions in some of which were moderate, conservative and liberal in the same inner circle. and i think that lesson is still so important today, whether or not it's bringing in somebody from the other party, whether it might be now for president obama, whiching top ceos into the government the way fdr did during a time of business unrest. there's got to be within that inner circle people who can question you. because then you become a greater leader as a result. and surely lincoln was. >> and how close did this country get to living permanently? >> oh, my god, i mean, if the civil war had ended earlier, if the south had won, secession
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would have continued. and then lincoln worried that if the south seceded from the north, maybe the west would some day secede from the east and that whole idea that democracy depended on ordinary people would be laughed at all over the world by kings and queens and tsars who said, you thought you could do you can't stay together, which is why lincoln talks continually in the movie about the need to cohere. it wasn't just keeping the south in the union, it was keeping idea alive that ordinary people could govern themselves. and winning the war, ending slavery, and keeping that union did all three of those things. . >> well, doris, are you going to buy a ferrari, hang out with brad and angie? >> i put them down here, i forgot to put them on. >> oh, okay. there we go. hollywood doris. >> it's a fabulous book, fabulous movie. thanks to daniel day lewis. i feel like i know lincoln the man. probably not like you do. >> without question. that love is back in my life.
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>> well, we can't wait for "teddy," but that'll be for another conversation. thank you, doris. >> thanks, alex. the economy and why it may be in better shape than you think. i was once used for small jobs. and i took on all the bigger, tougher ones. but with mr. clean's new select-a-size magic eraser, he can take on any size job. at least we don't go near rex's mobile home as often. what are you, scared? [ dog barks ] aah! oh! [ male announcer ] new mr. clean select-a-size magic eraser.
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the u.s. economy is showing signs of life with stock markets up the day after thanksgiving and shoppers were out buying holiday gifts in stores that started opening on thanksgiving night. so joining me now, cnbc contributor with a good morning to you. >> good morning. happy holidays. >> and to you. what about unemployment? >> well, unemployment, alex, is actually improving moderately around the country. we're still stuck at levels that no one's satisfied with. but if you look underneath the hood of the economy with real estate rebounding, manufacturing coming home, the energy boom, conventional energy boom going on. there's a lot to expect in 2013. assuming politicians don't take
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us over the fiscal cliff, this economy looks like it's gaining rather than losing momentum going into 2013. >> that's good. you see that housing has turned a corner. >> yeah. >> but then look overseas. all the possibilities of fiscal cliffdom over there. >> yeah, multiple cliffs. actually, britain's not involved in this, interestingly. the sovereign debt crisis there is being worked out slowly, painfully, if they did go through a shock where greek suddenly exited the eurozone or we had spain or italy default, that would be a major game-changer because it would really impair european banks and touch off another financial crisis. that does not seem to be on the horizon. china, which was experiencing something of a hard landing earlier this year is now starting to stimulate its economy again. and looks like china and the u.s. can be barbells in a kind of two-pronged advance in the economy next year. so i think there is reason to be
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optimistic. people are far too downbeat at this point for the prospect of things here at home. >> in terms of the average american, how are they doing? sometimes in washington and the media we're not really touching the pulse of that. >> depends where you are. if you work in technology, in health care, a variety of different industries, manufacturing coming back, one statistic that not often talked about, there are 3 1/2 million manufacturing jobs available. and we have a bit of a skills mismatch. it's hard for an unemployed construction worker to go to that factory where they rely on robotics and things like that and make that shift. but if you look at the composition of the economy, it's better. once real estate turns and auto manufacturing is picked up rather dramatically over the last couple of yooers, you have two engines of growth in the u.s. economy that are typically strong. you get three more ancillary jobs for every job in real estate. in construction, additional work, as well.
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so that could be a big tail wind for the economy next year rather than a head wind. >> thank you very much for sharing. >> good to see you, alex. >> that's a wrap of this hour "weekends with alex width." straight ahead, more smart political talk with "up with chris hayes" more to come on msnbc. try charmin ultra strong. with a new duraclean texture, it helps you get clean. plus it's four times stronger than the leading value brand. and you can use up to four times less. charmin ultra strong. hurry in this saturday and sunday for great deals. like the lucid by lg, free. or the galaxy nexus by samsung, free. this weekend, get the best deals on the best devices on the best network. exclusively at verizon.
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